NOTE TO SELF: When asked for salary requirements from prospective employers, do your homework before throwing out a number. Especially when the number is too low and labels you a novice, newbie, rookie, or otherwise glorified newcomer to a field you once knew well.
It won’t take you long to get up to speed — trust me, you’re smarter than you think — but you have only one chance to set that initial salary, hourly rate, or compensation. Afterwards, there’s no going back, and that number identifies your skill level immediately. Aim high.
I made a huge mistake undervaluing my contributions to a company, plain and simple. Took until now to notice why assignments were dwindling, and unfortunately, it was made painfully obvious as of late. Bitter? You betcha.
As a return-to-work mom, I considered my skills outdated, obsolete, and antiquated, and priced myself as such. My bad. Just because I took time off to raise things 1, 2, 3, and 4, doesn’t make me stupid, just dormant. And with a vast number of my zip-code unemployed, I was giddy by each rejection, and exhilarated for the random prospect. Bottom line: I wanted this job and priced myself to get it. It worked.
Had I requested the industry standard for my neck of the woods, the bossman could clearly decline, counter, or accept the number. But by aiming too low, I pigeon-holed myself right out of what I do best.
Salary Identifies Skill, or Lack Thereof
If bossman were billed appropriately for the skills I possess, I’m confident I’d be his #1 choice. Cocky? Perhaps, and if I weren’t getting the fee, referrals and recommendations from other clients, I’d certainly be blogging a different woe-is-me story. However, at my current price, I simply can’t be his smart choice. You get what you pay for.
I don’t blame him one bit; I’ve done this to myself. Dumb-ass.
Instead of getting a top-notch employee at a bargain-basement price, a sacrifice eagerly offered in exchange for the promised new media experience, contacts, and education eluded to in the job description, I’ve been labeled incompetent at my present hourly rate to complete the more intricate assignments.
And that hurts the pocketbook. And the ego.